Mark Johnson | November 9, 2016

In response to many in our congregation who were seeking a "word" at the end of a long and tumultuous election season, our church staff planned a service of hope, songs and prayers on Wednesday evening, November 9th.   The following is a pledge I presented at this service.

Normally we call the election at the end of a two-term President, a “change” election.  We expect the pendulum to move.  But tonight, we have few clues and many fears on how radical the change or how wide and wild the swing will be.

We simply don’t know.  Nor can we manage forces outside of our control.  We may feel helpless and powerless.  We cannot change what has happened or even what we fear may happen. Some of us are in shock.  Some of us may feel stunned or paralyzed. Many whom we love and support are hurting and their ache is profound.

The Bible says such times require “sackcloth and ashes.”   Our faith tradition is well acquainted with calls toward repentance and authenticity which means it must be endured through sacrifice and suffering.

We are called to have hope.  We are called to not tire in doing good, though the valley is dangerous and deep, to walk in faith though the path proves difficult and steep.  We are called to remember the God of rescue and resurrection who has not abandoned us and never will.

Tonight, I invite you to affirm your faith, to draw close to your community of faith, to cling to mystery of the Triune God who is the source of your faith, the source of your strength, and the source of your salvation.

I pledge this allegiance:
to treat all persons with fairness and understanding,
to not use my speech in ways that belittle or harm the vulnerable,
to not use others as a means for my own goals,
to not see human persons as sexual objects,
to not be silent in the face of injustice and oppression,
to not be deterred in my calling as a disciple of Jesus, always seeking to follow in his way and to elevate his example.

I pledge:
to love and serve the church,
to give generously and joyfully from the heart,
to forgive those who have hurt me,
to work doubly hard to limit the harm they may employ to hurt others,
to pray for my enemies with a love that transcends divisiveness,
to not be naive or easily manipulated,
to seek a strength that comes from God and is made perfect in my weaknesses.
    
I pledge:
to practice my faith sincerely,
to not give up on hope,
to not give up on my neighbor,
to not give up on my country,
to not give up on myself,
to not give up on God.

I know I will be tempted.  I know fear will disable me.  I know despair wants to creep into my bones and force me to pull the bedsheets over my head.  

But I will not be afraid of tears.  I will not shun the cleansing power of sadness.  I will not retreat.  I will not recant.  I will not resign.  

I will lean upon the Lord who taught me to pray: not my will, but thine be done.

And I will pray, and keep praying, never ceasing in praying until the transformation that will come has dawned or when my days on earth come to an end.

In the merciful name of Jesus, I so pledge.

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